If you want to learn one of the absolute best ways to improve your overall fitness and achieve good health at 50 and up, it’s by foot. This light, weight-bearing form of physical activity is something you can do wherever you are and when it suits you best. Going for a walk is also a good time to get into good old nature for some fresh air and stunning scenery. All you need to get started is a pair of well-fitting athletic shoes and a water bottle to keep you hydrated while you take these steps! Read on to learn exactly what a daily walking habit does to your body after 50, according to science.
Taking a brisk walk for an easy 30 minutes each day has extraordinary health benefits. And the more time you spend walking, the better your overall well-being will be. If you’re wondering what a daily walking habit does to your body after 50, the list of goodness is truly endless. Some of the benefits include reduced body fat, improved balance, stronger bones and muscles, a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, and an increase in your endurance and cardiovascular fitness, according to the Better Health Channel.
Not only is going for a walk an extraordinary stress reliever, but it’s also great for your joints, Form reports. It can be quite a social activity, which is always a solid gift of self-care. “Walking can reduce your stress levels by giving you a break from your daily stressors and helping you become more mindful,” explains psychotherapist Courtney Glashow, LCSW, founder of Anchor Therapy LLC (via Form).
Related: Slim down and get toned with this 15-minute walking session
A study conducted on inactive women revealed that minimal weekly exercise significantly increased their fitness.
The more steps you take, the better your overall health will be. A study conducted on inactive women revealed that performing minimal exercise each week—a simple 75 minutes—significantly increased the fitness level of each participant, compared to the non-exercisers observed (via the Better Health Channel). Another study published in Health promotion perspective journal found that going for an even brisker 10-minute walk can give you a mood lift.
According to Sharon Gam, Ph.D., CSCS, exercise physiologist and certified strength and conditioning coach (via Form), your front leg muscles do most of the work when you go up an incline, and your back leg muscles do the work when you go downhill. Building your leg strength and endurance usually makes doing any daily activities that much easier. Working to improve your leg strength through walking and lowering your risk of compromised health conditions will increase your ability to live a more independent, confident lifestyle through your 50s and beyond.
Alexa is the Mind + Body Associate Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa